A few weeks ago I wrote a post entitled, Music can change the world suggesting that music is a way to unite the world. I personally believe this to be true. A few days ago a link to the following video landed in my inbox.
Dance has always been a part of my world. I grew up in a small town where there were dances, often wedding dances, many weekends of the year. It was at those small town dances that I learned to dance. When I was in college and university I joined the dance club where we learned to do such dances as the Rumba, Samba, the Foxtrot, old-time waltz, swing and even square dance. My wife tells me that one of the things that attracted her to me was the fact that I could dance. She also tells me that now I don’t dance with her enough. Our daughters danced for years with the local dance association doing Hip Hop, Ballet, Modern, Jazz and Lyrical dance. My wife and I also volunteered when our club held their dance festivals. So when I watched this video I was immediately enlivened and inspired. What a great video! Watching it put a smile on my face. The video raises one’s spirits. Dance, even just watching it, has the ability to put us in a better mood.
I wanted to learn more about what kind of person would make such a video and why they would make it, so, like I typically do, I did some research. Can dancing unite the world? is an article I found on the Pocket Cultures site, a website which aims to increase connections, awareness and understanding between different cultures. According the article, the video was created by Matt Harding who became an Internet celebrity by creating a series of videos of himself doing silly dances in numerous countries around the world. The video above is his latest and was made in 2012. If you go to Mr. Harding’s website, where the heck is Matt, you will find other videos he has created. Matt says he started dancing with locals because he thought it looked like fun but some people have argued that he is actually improving world relations by connecting people around the world. I applaud Mr. Harding for his diplomatic projects and for showing us that everyone in this world just wants to dance and enjoy life.
Dancing is a great way to connect people around the world, just as music is. Really, when you think about it, the two are connected. You can’t have dance without music and probably visa versa. It’s difficult to dance without music and I suspect music is what inspired dancing to arise in the first place. So I wondered, are there organizations or movements that share this vision of connecting through dance to unite the world? Using Google, this is what I discovered. United Dance is an organization with the purpose to unite and train dancers all over the world. They desire to show the heart of God in unity through creative expressions of worship and dance to the world. Another is Movement Exchange, a community of dance diplomats, who aim to unite the world through dance and service. This movement believes that sharing movement creates more joy in our world. That is so true! If you watch the above video carefully, you will notice that no matter what country Matt is in, the people dancing with him are smiling and joyful. I’m sure there are other movements as well.
Even the United Nations acknowledges dance music as a positive global force. According to this article, United Nations Secretary General Bam Ki-Moon praised Belgium’s Tomorrowland music festival, one of the most noteworthy global music festivals; a festival that began in 2005.
The Secretary General commented on the true power of global dance music, and its positioning within a wider cultural dialogue; one meant for a world of togetherness and universal acceptance. Now even though the festival isn’t specifically a dance festival, you can bet that the “dance music” had people dancing. In my view, dance and music go hand in hand.
Not only does music and dance unite people of different races and cultures, but dance is good for you. According to the Better Health Channel’s article, Dance-Health Benefits, the health benefits of dancing are:
- improved condition of your heart and lungs
- increased muscular strength, endurance and motor fitness
- increased aerobic fitness
- improved muscle tone and strength
- weight management
- stronger bones and reduced risk of osteoporosis
- better coordination, agility and flexibility
- improved balance and spatial awareness
- increased physical confidence
- improved mental functioning
- improved general and psychological well being
- greater self-confidence and self-esteem
- better social skills.
Time’s article, The Hidden Health Benefits of Dance, says:
“People who took dance class improved their fitness three times more than non-dancers”.
The Toronto Star reports in the article, Toronto researchers test benefits of dance for dementia patients, that a few studies suggest dancing programs in care homes appear to decrease problematic behaviour and increase social interaction and enjoyment.
Psychology Today’s article, Why Should We Dance? says,
Studies have shown that dance, in particular, can decrease anxiety and boost mood more than other physical outlets
So the bottom line is dance has value in this world. We live in a world that needs unity. All one has to do is watch the news to come to that conclusion. So the more ways there are to unite the world, the better this world will be. I think dance, like music, is another way to do this. So, I encourage you to celebrate the different forms of dance in the world. I especially enjoy watching people from Africa dance. The African people know how to move and express themselves.
So let loose and dance. To quote Satchel Paige, an African-American Major League Baseball pitcher,
“Dance like nobody’s watching.”
It’s a good way to get fit. It makes you feel better. It unites the world because every country has their own unique dance forms. What more can I say?
So now I’m curious. Tell me what you think?